Sports Arizona Throws a Rich Media Change-Up
Digital editions are key to many publishers' online strategies. But in most cases, these e-mags are static, Web-based versions of the same pulp-bound product sold on newsstands. But Sports Arizona is trying something different -- using existing Web technologies to digitize and animate regular Adobe InDesign layouts with the rich media and aggregated content of a traditional Web site, but in a visually stunning, Web-friendly layout.
We spoke with Editor Ron Matejko about why the company decided to launch the digital edition first, the technologies it uses, and how Sports Arizona expects this Web product to drive the print magazine.
INBOX: The premier edition of Sports Arizona launched online in March, but you plan a print launch later this year. How do you see those fitting together?
RON MATEJKO: We originally planned to go print first, and had begun to sell advertising in Summer of 2008. But then, as you know, the economy went in the tank in September, and with it went what was already a so-so ad market. So we abandoned going to print first because it didn't make sense to fit the square peg into the round whole if the market wasn't going to allow for it.
INBOX: Had you ever launched a digital magazine before?
MATEJKO: In 2005/2006, we were under a different name and tried an online-only magazine. We did 13 monthly issues. It was well-received by readers and the industry here in town (it focused only on the Phoenix market). But at that time monetizing it ... well, there was no chance of it because advertisers and marketers still hadn't accepted online advertising like they have today.
INBOX: What makes you believe it will work now?
MATEJKO: A few things. One is the growing penetration of broadband in households; it's over 71 percent now. That means people are able to open up and read and interact with this kind of a publication.